PIA resumes flight operations on Chitral route

CHITRAL: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Friday resumed its flights to and from Chitral and both the Peshawar and Islamabad flights were operated. The flight operation was suspended after the Wednesday’s plane crash.

However, the number of passengers in the flights was said to be lower than routine.

District sales manager of PIA in Chitral, Zahideen Zahid, told Dawn that 16 passengers travelled to Islamabad and 21 to Peshawar and the number of passengers arriving here was 11 and 12 from Islamabad and Peshawar, respectively.

He said that the number of passengers would increase to the usual strength within a couple of days as the environment of fear subsided.

An official of PIA posted in the briefing counter at the airport said that the passengers were quite confident and there was no sign of fear on their faces.

He said that Syed Sumsam Bukhari, a former parliamentarian, was one of the passengers flying to Islamabad from Chitral on Friday.

TWO BURIED: Bodies of two of the victims of Wednesday’s plane crash were buried here on Friday which included that of Mohammad Takbir of Bakrabad village and Haji Nawaz of Goldur in Chitral town.

The two bodies were transported to Chitral on Thursday night from Islamabad after their identification in the earlier stage by their relatives with the help of some specific signs and clothing at the crash site.

As many as 20 people from Chitral had perished in the crash and bodies of 18 would be taken to their villages after identification through DNA tests. Quran Khwani was held in almost all mosques after Friday prayers for the departed souls while people thronged the houses of the victims for offering their condolences.

Commandant of Chitral Scouts Col Nizamuddin Shah participated in both the funerals and also went to houses of the victims to condole with the bereaved families.

PIA CRITICISED: Civil society organisations here have criticised PIA for the plane crash and held its management responsible for what they said sending a ‘faulty’ plane to Chitral.

Addressing a press conference, Northern Citizen Community Board chief executive officer Shahzada Ibrahim alleged that the plane crash was the result of corruption and mismanagement in the national flag carrier.

He said that if the chairman was to be believed that there was no technical fault in the aircraft and the pilot was a consummate aviator, then he should tell the affected families about the exact reason for the accident.

Mr Ibrahim alleged that whole fleet of the aircrafts being operated on the route was outdated and the PIA should stop flying them to save precious lives. He demanded that the inquiry being conducted into the plane crash incident should be made public.

Also, a gathering was held at PIA Chowk under the aegis of Chitral Students Welfare Association where the speakers criticised the PIA management for the accident. Addressed by Sher Jahan and others, the meeting demanded of the government to increase the compensation money for the victims to Rs10 million. — Zahiruddin, 10 Dec 2016
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